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Old 12-03-2008, 12:53 PM   #1
HibachiDG
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Default Should Plax get 3 years?

A big issue with this Plaxico Burress gun case is the legislation in New York for a mandatory 3 1/2 year minimum prison sentence for illegal possession of a loaded gun.

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On a night in January 2007, one of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s deputies for criminal justice addressed a small gathering of lawyers at the New York Bar Association’s office in Midtown Manhattan. In a large conference room, he described how new legislation that he and Bloomberg had spearheaded would reduce gun violence in New York.

As that deputy, John Feinblatt, addressed the group, he was challenged by several defense lawyers who thought the legislation — which mandated a minimum three-and-a-half-year sentence for illegal possession of a loaded weapon — was unfair. Their complaint was that the new law did not allow for any exceptions. The lawyer most vocal in pressing that point, said several people who attended the meeting, was Benjamin Brafman.

Almost two years later, Brafman finds himself in direct confrontation with that law as he tries to navigate a treacherous legal path for his client, Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/03/sp...weapon.html?em

There is the possibility that Burress could plead to a lesser charge, but that might be less likely given the Mayor having come out against that idea already.

It seems to me that three years is a bit much for this situation and that some wiggle room in the sentencing would have been best served for everyone involved. Plaxico certainly made a stupid mistake...well, at least a few stupid mistakes. But, I think there should be room to argue intent on bringing a gun to the club (protection compared to just wanting one in case some sucker runs up on you talkin' nonsense or because you're in a gang and what not) and life circumstances.

Gun violence, especially in nightclubs, is a serious problem, but I don't know if making an example out of Plaxico is the right solution. Is letting Plax plead to a lesser offense with a lesser jail sentence going to tell evil doers it's open season in NYC and they can take guns into clubs whenever?
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:29 PM   #2
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This is a tough situation for prosecutors and police. Either way, it comes out badly. I would err on the side of a tough sentence however, sending the message that it is not OK to bring guns to clubs.
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:38 PM   #3
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Guns = jail.
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:39 PM   #4
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I see what you are saying but could he not have avoided the illegal possession charge if he had simply taken the time to apply for a concealed weapons permit? If I am not mistaken the whole charge stems from him not having a concealed weapons permit to begin with.

They mentioned on SportsCenter last night that by the time this goes to trial or whatever they expect to see a lesser charge tacked on and he will probably plea out to the lesser charge.
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:56 PM   #5
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I'm glad a couple people have brought up "making an example" out of him. Because I don't really have a strong opinion either way here, but I have noticed that athletes and celebreties seem to either always get off ridiculously easy, or given the harshest sentence possible, way more than the average, non-famous offender gets, to "send a message. (Wesley Snipes is a great example). They never seem to get the middle ground that most people get.
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublee View Post
I see what you are saying but could he not have avoided the illegal possession charge if he had simply taken the time to apply for a concealed weapons permit? If I am not mistaken the whole charge stems from him not having a concealed weapons permit to begin with.

They mentioned on SportsCenter last night that by the time this goes to trial or whatever they expect to see a lesser charge tacked on and he will probably plea out to the lesser charge.
On the first point, Plax had a permit in Florida that expired, which I mention just because he'd have arguments in his defense for making that mistake. I don't know the entirety of the facts, but just based off what has been in the media, Plax was worried because of a recent robbery at gun point to teammate Steve Smith and, although he did not apply for a permit in NYC because he no longer desired to bring a gun with him for protection, the Smith incident weighed on his mind and Plaxico made a decision to take the gun with him thinking only of his immediate safety. And, I'd assume Plaxico has a better lawyer than myself.

For the second point, yeah, I think that in most situations if it was someone without a record or suspect of criminal activity, then a plea to a lesser charge is a possibility.
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:19 AM   #7
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Okay, so just stay home then if you are so worried about your safety. I am sure his wife and kid would have appreciated the company.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublee View Post
Okay, so just stay home then if you are so worried about your safety.
Tell that to Sean Taylor.




So, I'm goin' to hell for that one.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:33 PM   #9
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Well, OK, so he stays home. Eventually someone is going to tell him he needs to get out more. That doesn't seem to be part of a solution.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:35 PM   #10
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It doesn't take that long to get a permit to carry a gun does it?
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Old 12-04-2008, 02:10 PM   #11
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That all depends on your background. Some people will never get a permit to carry, others breeze through the background check. The process takes about 2 weeks or so to finish.
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Old 12-04-2008, 04:15 PM   #12
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I think the law calling for three years of incarceration is overly harsh. It's not like he had the intend to commit a malicious crime.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doublee View Post
It doesn't take that long to get a permit to carry a gun does it?
Quote:
The Heller decision did not say that requiring a license to carry a gun was unconstitutional. But in New York State, nonresidents cannot even apply for the licenses to possess or carry a handgun. Unlike most other states, New York refuses to honor carry permits issued by sister states. Most observers believe that the Supreme Court will eventually make state and local governments obey the Second Amendment. If it does, New York's discrimination against nonresidents will probably be ruled unconstitutional.

And then there is the issue of the permitting process for residents. In 40 states, including Connecticut, law-abiding adults are issued permits once they pass a fingerprint-based background check and a safety class. In New Jersey, carry permits are virtually never issued. In New York City, carry permits are issued, but to applicants with some form of political clout rather than on the basis of his or her need for protection.

The Second Amendment might not require New Jersey or New York City to issue as liberally as Connecticut does. But with a population of several million and only a few thousand (consisting mainly of politicians, retired police and celebrities) able to get permits, New York City's licensing process is almost certainly unconstitutional on a number of grounds, including sheer arbitrariness.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1228...s_opinion_main

That's one take on that issue.

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I think the law calling for three years of incarceration is overly harsh. It's not like he had the intend to commit a malicious crime.
Yeah, those in NY pushing for the law and especially for it to be applied to Plaxico (like Mayor Bloomberg), would argue that removing the intent to commit a crime aspect of it is a good thing in terms of deterring others from carrying around loaded handguns.
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:45 AM   #14
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Worse yet, weapons possession is treated as a violent crime in New York state, which would impact Burress in two ways:

First, it makes him ineligible for parole, which could have seen him serve as little as one-third of the stated sentence; instead, the soonest he could get out is after serving 6/7ths of the sentence, which in the case of a 3 1/2-year sentence, would mean three years, when he would be 34.

Second, the violent-crime designation rules out minimum-security confinement, eliminating any possibility that he will go to a so-called "country club" or camp-style facility.

When I go on my annual visit to New York in the spring, I will feel so much safer, knowing that such a dangerous criminal as Plaxico Burress has been taken off the streets.

Last edited by Anthony; 12-05-2008 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:11 AM   #15
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This is another in a long line of "bonehead" moves by professional athletes. Hopefully they will learn that they have to behave if they are going to be accepted in polite society.
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